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Ex-lover, hitman testify in trial of 2 accused of killing FSU professor

Katherine Magbanua, Sigfredo Garcia face murder charges

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Tuesday brought explosive testimony in the murder trial of Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia, who are accused in the 2013 killing of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel.

The murder-for-hire case transfixed Florida's capital city when Markell was gunned down five years ago in his garage. Police said a bitter divorce, custody battle and other family squabbles were behind the slaying of Markel.

Jeffrey Lacasse dated Markel's ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, for about nine months. 

Taking the stand Tuesday, Lacasse said five days before the law professor was killed, Adelson told him something that made his stomach turn. 

"She said that Charlie had explored all options to take care of the problem, and that he had looked into having professor Markel killed. It would cost about $15,000. And so I didn't know what to make of it, my stomach kind of flipped. It was like a chilling statement," Lacasse said.

The former boyfriend was also asked about a dinner two weeks after the murder.

"These are her words -- she said, 'Charlie and I went to what he described as a celebration dinner,'" Lacasse said.

After lunch break in the courtroom Luis Riveria, the hitman who flipped in exchange for a 19-year sentence, said he was told the hit was ordered because someone wanted their children. 

He described what happened as he and accused triggerman, Garcia, followed Markel into his driveway.

"Soon as I pulled in, Garcia jumped out. He jumped out of the car and went around, not around, but in front of the car -- right behind his car and in front of the car I was driving. Went to the driver's side and shot him twice," Riveria said.

Adelson testified Friday that she did try to drive by Markel's house about an hour after the murder. 

A police officer on the scene said he'd been alerted to look for the make and model of her car.

Riveria confirmed he, Grarcia and the third person charged in the murder, Magbanua, were paid a $100,000 in cash on the day after the hit.

No one from the Adelson family has been charged with a crime and all have denied any involvement.

Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia are facing trial on a charge of first-degree murder.
Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia are facing trial on a charge of first-degree murder.